The Academy offers many sources of continuing medical education (CME) for members and nonmembers, including most articles published in AFP each year. The value of AAFP CME is further enhanced because the Academy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and has been since 1981. The Academy is in a unique position as a CME provider: we are both an accreditor of AAFP Prescribed and Elective credit in our own credit system and a provider accredited by the ACCME, which allies us with the largest CME accreditation body and with the American Medical Association's credit system. To maintain this accreditation, we must adhere to the CME essentials and standards set by the ACCME and keep extensive documentation about needs assessment, activity development, conflict of interest, activity evaluations, and CME outcomes. The ACCME conducts periodic site surveys of every accredited provider to ensure the standards are met and that record keeping is sufficient. Typically, each provider is surveyed every four years. The AAFP's last survey, in 2001, designated us as having exemplary compliance, and we were granted a six-year term of accreditation.
We began preparing for the 2007 survey more than a year ago. As the first step in the process, the ACCME selected several Academy CME activities to be reviewed, including monographs from the Home Study program, an annual Scientific Assembly CME program, METRIC, Family Practice Management, and AFP, among others. The Academy's CME accreditation staff and representatives from all departments that produce AAFP CME conducted a year-long self-study and developed a document to submit to the ACCME. This lengthly document describes the many aspects of how CME is developed using a process of linking identified learning needs to intended outcomes and how CME activities are managed and documented. The ACCME reviewed the document before the site visit and came prepared with comments, suggestions, and questions.
Two site surveyors visited the Academy in early March to discuss the self-study document with CME staff members, two members of the Commission on Continuing Professional Development, and other AAFP staff members. Academy employees who are responsible for developing or managing various aspects of CME activities, including AFP, were available to answer questions and respond to ACCME suggestions. The surveyors will now complete a report about their site visit and the self-study document. The ACCME Accreditation Review Committee will review the report and supporting documents at their meeting in June, and their decision will be announced in July 2007.
How Is AFP's Clinical Quiz Developed?
The Clinical Quiz questions in AFP are based on most review articles and selected departments. The questions are written and reviewed by the AFP medical editors, and are then edited with the articles during the professional editing process. As a final check, the Quiz is reviewed by a medical editor to ensure the questions are consistent with the article, accurately worded, and comply with CME standards. We take careful steps to compare final questions with the final, edited article, which may have changed significantly since submission because of editing or the publication of new guidelines. To help readers with self-evaluation, answers to the questions are provided at the end of the Practice Guidelines department in each issue.
Providing CME is a very important part of AFP. All steps in our processes, including identifying readers' needs, article review, conflict of interest disclosure, and quiz development must comply with ACCME standards. Each year, we offer nearly 100 CME credits, a number of which are designated as evidence-based. During 2006, AFP readers submitted almost 412,000 quizzes, either returning the card bound in each issue or completing the quiz online. That's an average of more than 34,000 quizzes processed and 144,000 credits awarded each month! We hope you find the AFP Clinical Quiz a valuable tool in obtaining your CME.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions about improving the Quiz, or any part of AFP. You can mail the comment card published in the first issue each month, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.